Golden, Gallagher Lead Colleagues to Propose Compromise to Lower Rx Drug Prices
Congressmen Jared Golden (ME-02) and Mike Gallagher (WI-08), joined by Reps. Harley Rouda (CA-48) and Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), today put forward a bipartisan, common-sense proposal to lower prescription drug prices in this Congress. In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the lawmakers laid out a plan that combines the common elements from legislation passed by the Democratic-led House of Representatives and the Republican-led Senate Finance Committee to reduce prescription medication costs.
Golden and his fellow lawmakers outlined five such bipartisan provisions, including Medicare Part D reforms that incorporate a cap on out-of-pocket costs for beneficiaries. These changes alone are estimated to save American seniors at least $20 billion in prescription drug costs over 10 years.
“Members of the House and Senate, as well as the president, agree that bipartisan legislation to help lower the cost of prescription drugs must be a top priority this Congress,” wrote Golden and his colleagues. “With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic creating both health impacts and economic disruptions for millions of Americans, the time is right to work together on legislation that incorporates common provisions from both the House and Senate drug pricing proposals to bring real relief to Americans struggling with prescription costs.”
“As this letter makes clear, there are numerous provisions to control prescription drug prices that have the support of members of both parties across both chambers and that are ready to be enacted into law…” the members of Congress continued. “Our constituents should not be forced to choose between managing their blood sugar and heating their home; between paying their hospital bill and paying their rent; or between treating their cancer and stocking their pantry. The status quo is a danger to public health, so it is time to ensure that Americans can afford their medications.”
The legislation passed by the Senate Finance Committee also has the endorsement of the White House.
Beyond advocating for capping out-of-pocket costs for Medicare beneficiaries and other Medicare Part D reforms, the lawmakers identified areas of agreement between the two bills which include:
- Mandating documentation and explanation from manufacturers justifying abnormal price spikes;
- Make generic prescriptions more available to consumers by reforming intellectual property regulations for pharmaceuticals;
- Making Pharmacy Benefit Managers’ roles more transparent, to ensure they’re working on the consumers’ behalf;
- Making quality metrics for Medicare Part D standardized.
Golden has made addressing high prescription drug prices one of his highest priorities during his time in Congress. In December 2019, he helped to pass the Lower Drug Costs Now Act, which would have made the aforementioned changes to Medicare Part D to limit out-of-pocket costs for senior Mainers. One of the first bills he introduced in Congress was the FLAT Prices Act, which would impose penalties on pharmaceutical companies who harm consumers with sudden, exorbitant price increases and promote competition among manufacturers to lower drug prices.
You can read the letter sent to House and Senate leadership in full here.